Southampton v West Ham
Premier League. Thursday December 27. Kick-off 7.45pm. Live on Sky Sports.
RALPH HASENHUTTL has enjoyed an instant impact at Southampton and is already putting his predecessor's efforts to shame – victory today would see him match Mark Hughes' Saints win record in the league.
Hughes mustered just three top-flight victories in 22 attempts while his Austrian replacement can equal that haul in only his fourth game in charge.
Having started his reign with a 1-0 defeat at Cardiff, Hasenhuttl has steered his new team to wins over Arsenal and Huddersfield and they look transformed from the pedestrian football peddled by the previous manager.
Hasenhuttl's high-intensity, high-pressing style suits the Saints squad and they can make it three straight wins for the first time since May 2016 today when injury-hit West Ham come to town.
The Hammers put together an impressive four-match winning streak of their own before a 2-0 at home defeat to Watford last weekend that saw striker Javier Hernandez and centre-back Fabian Balbuena join a lengthy injury list.
Andy Carroll is set to lead the Hammers line in a rare start for the big Geordie striker. He'll get plenty of ammunition from quality wideman Felipe Amderson and Robert Snodgrass and look to cause havoc against a Saints defence yet to keep a clean sheet under Hasenhuttl.
Both teams to score is 3-5 at 888Sport but I'm going for over 2.5 goals – which has landed in five of six for Saints – at 10-13 in a meeting of sides who love to attack.
West Ham are unbeaten in their last four away games – two wins, two draws and just two goals conceded – and they're 12-5 for another victory but the feelgood factor sweeping St Mary's can help the hosts edge this one at 59-50 with 888Sport.
Hasenhuttl's arrival has worked wonders for Danny Ings who has three goals in his last two games and the on-loan Liverpool striker is 13-10 to get on the scoresheet and 19-5 to bag the opener.
Carrol is 23-10 to mark his first Hammers start of the season with a goal but Brazilian talisman Anderson looks a better shout at 29-10.